Report: Blackpool 1 Brackley 0
Jamille Matt’s early goal put Blackpool into the FA Cup third round after a hard-fought victory over Brackley Town.
His headed finish was just enough to see off the valiant non-league outfit, as he latched himself onto a skewed Brad Potts strike.
Brackley fought hard to cause an upset, forcing a goal-line clearance from Tom Aldred, and causing Clark Robertson to hit his own crossbar.
It took just over five minutes for Blackpool to make the breakthrough. Potts lined up a shot from the edge of the box but slightly miscued it. It didn’t matter though as Matt was loitering at the back post and headed home from close range.
Brackley started the game lively, however. Overlapping wing-back Ellis Myles found Lee Ndlovu in the Pool box, but Aldred was on-hand to smother the ball behind.
Blackpool’s early goal had opened the game up, creating space for Pool’s wide players. Potts almost capitalised after smart link-up play with Kyle Vassell. His shot from a tight angle was matched by Brackley goalkeeper Laurie Walker, though.
The Seasiders’ number eight continued to torment the opposition defence. A 20-yard effort forced another save from Walker, this time stretching to his right as Potts went closer to adding himself on the scoresheet.
James Armson, who scored a hat-trick in the first round for Brackley, looked to be the non-league side’s best hope of getting back into the game. He rose above Kelvin Mellor at the back post but could only head over Sam Slocombe’s bar.
Brackley went closest, however, shortly before break. Robertson met a difficult, low cross and hammered his clearance off his own crossbar. Fortunately, though, the ball ricocheted back into play to keep Blackpool’s lead at half-time.
Half-time score: Blackpool 1 Brackley Town 0
The opposition’s star man, Armson, was again threatening after the interval. Two long-range efforts in quick succession from the midfielder looked dangerous, but thankfully for Pool, both were fired over the bar.
Brackley were pushing for an equaliser early in the second half, and were gifted an opportunity to do so as Ndlovu latched onto a short back-pass, but was smothered quickly by the alert Slocombe to avert the danger.
Top-scorer Vassell had a rare opportunity in the second 45, shooting across goal after being sent through by the goal-scorer Matt, but the difficult chance was saved.
As the game wore on, the underdogs started to believe in an upset. Aldred’s dramatic clearance off the line caused panic momentarily, but Pool managed to clear the ball to safety.
Late set-pieces from Brackley meant for a nervy ending for Pool, but they held on to put their names in the hat for the next round.
Full-time score: Blackpool 1 Brackley Town 0
By Peter McCarthy